The state of South Dakota is allowing some horses and horse owners who are traveling out of state to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection that is valid for a full 6 months rather than 30 days. Not every horse will qualify or be recommended for this new type of health certificate. Known as the Extended Equine Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (EECVI), this health certificate can be issued for horses who travel out of state for short periods of time. This was not a decision the state veterinarian, Dr. Dustin Oedekoven, made lightly. However, after seeing the results in other states that have made the change and the increased communication that has occurred more generally between horse owners, veterinarians, and animal health officials.
It might seem counterintuitive that horses traveling out of state for shorter periods would be entitled to a longer health certificate, but it helps to understand the larger rationale for the change. It isn’t that a horse examined and deemed to be in good health by a veterinarian can’t get seriously ill within the next 6 months. That’s not how horses work. In fact, some illnesses can manifest within 30 days.
Regardless of whether the horse has had a veterinary examination within the last month or the last 6 months, it’s the responsibility of the horse owner to look for any signs of illness really, but especially signs of a serious and/or contagious disease. The vast majority of horse owners know what to watch out for and have no qualms about staying diligent and reporting any serious illnesses to the authorities as well as their equine veterinarian.
So, why have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection at all? Well, for one thing, veterinarians are able to detect many illnesses and injuries earlier than the average horse owner. For another thing, it keeps unscrupulous owners from traveling with a sick horse or trying to sell one under false pretenses. Likewise, horses with shorter travel plans are more likely to be able to return safely home when the first symptoms appear. Horses on longer trips may have to get better on the road, making it that much more important they start the trip out with a clean bill of health.
You can read more about the changes from the Tri-State Livestock News.